Advanced Configuration

Tee Parham edited this page Jul 20, 2018 · 7 revisions

If you're feeling ambitious or you have a very particular use-case for Rack::Attack, these advanced configurations may help.

:beetle::warning: Much of this code is untested. Copy-paste at your own risk!

Exponential Backoff

By layering throttles with linearly increasing limits and exponentially increasing periods, you can mimic an exponential backoff throttle. See #106 for more discussion.

# Allows 20 requests in 8  seconds
#        40 requests in 64 seconds
#        ...
#        100 requests in 0.38 days (~250 requests/day)
(1..5).each do |level|
  throttle("logins/ip/#{level}", :limit => (20 * level), :period => (8 ** level).seconds) do |req|
    if req.path == '/login' &&

Rack::Attack::Request Helpers

You can define helpers on requests like localhost? or subdomain by monkey-patching Rack::Attack::Request. See #73 for more discussion.

class Rack::Attack::Request < ::Rack::Request
  def localhost?
    ip == ""

Rack::Attack.safelist("localhost") { |req| req.localhost? }

Blocklisting From ENV Variables

You can have Rack::Attack configure its blocklists from ENV variables to simplify maintenance. See #110 for more discussion.

class Rack::Attack
  # Split on a comma with 0 or more spaces after it.
  # E.g. ENV['HEROKU_VARIABLE'] = ","
  # spammers = ["", ""]
  spammers = ENV['HEROKU_VARIABLE'].split(/,\s*/)

  # Turn spammers array into a regexp
  spammer_regexp = Regexp.union(spammers) # /foo\.com|bar\.com/
  blocklist("block referer spam") do |request|
    request.referer =~ spammer_regexp

Reset Specific Throttles

By doing a bunch of monkey-patching, you can add a helper for resetting specific throttles. The implementation is kind of long, so see #113 for more discussion.

Rack::Attack.reset_throttle "logins/email", ""

Blocklisting From Rails.cache

You can configure blocklists to check values stored in Rails.cache to allow setting blocklists from inside your application. See #111 for more discussion.

# Block attacks from IPs in cache
# To add an IP: Rails.cache.write("block", true, expires_in: 2.days)
# To remove an IP: Rails.cache.delete("block")
Rack::Attack.blocklist("block IP") do |req|"block #{req.ip}")

Throttle Basic Auth Crackers

An example implementation for blocking hackers who spam basic auth attempts. See #47 for more discussion.

# After 5 requests with incorrect auth in 1 minute,
# block all requests from that IP for 1 hour.
Rack::Attack.blocklist('basic auth crackers') do |req|
  Rack::Attack::Allow2Ban.filter(req.ip, :maxretry => 5, :findtime => 1.minute, :bantime => 1.hour) do
    # Return true if the authorization header not incorrect
    auth =
    auth.credentials != [my_username, my_password]
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